July, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations, including
France, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and
Germany, led to a historic deal. Under the terms of the
deal, after providing assurances that it was not enriching
uranium to pursue a nuclear weapon, international sanctions
against Iran would be gradually lifted.
on Wednesday, US officials, speaking on condition
of anonymity, revealed that the US Treasury Department is
prepared to roll out new sanctions against companies
and individuals not only in Iran, but also in Hong
Kong and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Wall Street
penalties are reportedly related to Tehran’s test-firing
of two ballistic missiles, one in October and another
in November. Washington views the launches as a violation
of international law, though Tehran maintains that the tests
were conducted in according with UN regulations, and the
missiles are defensive only.
approved, the sanctions would apply to five government officials
working in Iran’s Ministry of Defense for Armed
Obama administration is also targeting Mabrooka Trading Co. LLC, a
UAE-based entity, as well as its founder, Hossein
Pournaghshband, for its alleged role in aiding Iran’s
ballistic missile program. Penalties would also apply to Anhui
Land Group Co, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary said to be used
by Pournaghshband to produce carbon-fiber material for the
sanctions would place these entities on a business blacklist,
and would freeze their assets in US banks.
officials stress that new sanctions are unrelated to the nuclear
accord, but Iranian officials have warned in recent months
that new financial penalties would be seen by Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei as a breach of the agreement.
recently accused the United States of violating the nuclear
accord over legislation passed by the US Congress. New laws
passed after the San Bernardino shooting require any foreign
national who has visited Iran or Syria to obtain a visa
before entering the US. Tehran claims this move could harm
Iranian business, and cut off access to foreign investment.
Treasury Department’s decision comes as the Obama
administration prepares to lift sanctions related to Tehran’s
nuclear program. The lifting of those penalties was set to begin
next month, following Iran’s shipment of 25,000 pounds
of uranium to Russia, a sign that the government was
abiding by the accord.